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India long-term destination for foreign investors; rupee volatility, crude shocks mere blips, says Fairfax's founder Prem Watsa

India is a long-term destination for foreign investors and rupee volatility and crude shocks are "mere blips on the radar" which will not affect the capital, said investment giant Fairfax's founder and CEO Prem Watsa.
In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18's Nithya Balakrishnan, Watsa said that Fairfax's $5 billion India bet will only increase given the country's policies to enable ease of doing business.
The second edition of the Invest India Conference kicked off in Toronto with focus on deepening Indo-Canada business ties. Led by Prem Watsa, the summit brought together more than 430 delegates from India and Canada including Tata group companies, ICICI, HDFC, Bombardier, Brookfield Asset Management, IIFL, Air Canada among others.
Talking about India being the investment opportunity of a lifetime, Tata Sons' chairman N Chandrasekharan said, "India has grown neck-to-neck with China in the last two years. GST, Aadhaar, financial inclusion and formalisation of our economy means all cycles of growth are firing simultaneously. A really optimistic estimate is that India could become a 15-trillion-dollar economy by 2030. Canada, the time to invest in to India is now."
Echoing that sentiment, Indian minister for Trade and Commerce, Suresh Prabhu added "In the next seven years, India will surpass the $5 trillion mark with manufacturing contributing $1 trillion and services contributing over $3 trillion to growth."
Invest India 2018 throws light on India as an investment destination for healthcare, financial services, education, research & innovation, infrastructure and food security.
According to Nirmal Jain, CEO of IIFL, India is in dire need of ramping up infrastructure and investment into roads, real estate and airports will yield good returns. "It is a win-win for the country as well as for global investors," he said.
The summit also comes at a crucial juncture for Canada, in the final leg of negotiations with US and Mexico on finalising NAFTA. Canada's trade with India stands at a low of $8 billion annually despite ambitious targets of clocking $15 billion by 2015.
While the Canadian government is also slowly emphasising the importance of diversifying its markets and reversing its over-dependence on US, especially given the uncertainty over NAFTA.
"Scale and market access is what Canadian companies are searching for, especially growing entrepreneurs, and India provides the perfect opportunity to leverage this," said Navdeep Bains, Canadian minister for innovation, science and economic development.

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